Borders armed robber jailed for longer over failed escape bid

A prisoner being treated in hospital for self-inflicted wounds leapt out of a wheelchair and ran off in a bid to escape, a court heard.

Failed fugitive Taylor Wright.
Failed fugitive Taylor Wright.

Armed robber Taylor Wright raced through the grounds of Wishaw General Hospital in North Lanarkshire as his guards gave chase.

When they caught up with him, Wright, still wearing a handcuff, lashed out at one of the prison officers, striking him on the head.

Wishaw General Hospital.

Wright, 24, had 19 months added to his current sentence at Hamilton Sheriff Court for that escape attempt.

He admitted attempting to defeat the ends of justice by trying to escape from custody while at the hospital on March 22 this year.

He also admitted assaulting prison officer Graeme Murray, but his not-guilty plea to a charge of attempting to punch another guard, David Lennox, was accepted.

Wright, of no fixed abode prior to being jailed, is already serving a sentence of five years and 10 months for assaulting and robbing an 80-year-old woman 80 at her Yarrow Valley home near Selkirk in March 2015.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard he threatened the terrified OAP with an imitation gun and robbed her of her car, cash and a bank card after forcing her to reveal her personal identification number. He then used hercard to get more cash from a bank machine.

Michael Macintosh, prosecuting, said he is serving his sentence at Shotts Prison in North Lanarkshire and was taken from there to Wishaw General for treatment to wounds.

The fiscal explained: “After examination, Wright was discharged, and as he was being escorted from the hospital, he was handcuffed and seated on a wheelchair.

“He jumped out of the wheelchair and ran off through the hospital grounds. It seems he had managed to get one of his wrists out of the cuff.

“Prison officers chased him, but as they gained ground, he turned and aimed a blow at Mr Murray.

“He still had a handcuff attached to his wrist ,and as he punched Mr Murray, the cuff made contact with his face.

“This caused an injury and heavy bleeding. Police were called and were on the scene almost immediately. At this point, the prison officers had the accused on the ground.

“The police officers took Wright back into the hospital. The injured guard walked past them and the accused told the police officers ‘nothing against you, but he deserved it. You’ve not been in the same hall with him for two years’.

“Mr Murray was treated at the hospital and had several stitches put in his wound. It left a small scar that is no longer visible unless viewed very closely.”

Wright’s lawyer, Gerry McGuire, said his client hadn’t been due for release until February 2020 and had been suffering from depression.

He was taken to hospital due to self-inflicted wounds requiring around 30 stitches.

McGuire told the court: “He had been suffering from acute depression for a period of time and had received significant medication from a GP within the prison.

“Initially this helped, but over time he felt it was not assisting him. His frustration and depression were such that he tried to take his own life.

“This young man had a very difficult upbringing. He was in care as a teenager and since going to jail in March 2015 has had no contact from family or friends.

“He is very much isolated, and since this incident at the hospital he has been in a segregation unit, which certainly hasn’t helped his mental health.”

McGuire admitted Wright had to be punished for his escape bid but stressed: “It was most unlikely that he would make good his escape. He was barefoot as he ran away and heavily bandaged.

“He apologises to the officer he hit, who, I understand, received three stitches.”

McGuire said Wright is now in “a slightly better place” than he was at the time of his ill-fated escape bid but remains “haunted” by depression.

The brief added: “When he is released, he intends to go into training with a view to gaining employment and making a positive contribution to society.”

Sheriff Douglas Brown jailed Wright for eight months for the escape bid and 11 for the assault, to run consecutively after he completes his current prison stretch.